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REPORTING · 6th May 2015
Walter McFarlane
Local resident, Tim Rice, was at Kitimat City Council on Monday, May 4th to talk about the strike and the lack of services.

“I would like to talk about the loss of services, which is affecting my families recreation and health, as well as the rest of this communities due to the strike,” said Rice. “We use the facities, the pool, the gym, the squash courts regularly, with the use of our recreational membership.”

He said his daughter likes to swim, his son wants to use the gym and he likes to play squash. Now it was gone. He explained it is difficult to replace the level of exercise so their state of fitness has slipped. He told the Council they are missing out on the enjoyment of using the facilities.

Rice expressed the sports teams who also use these facilities are also losing out on training for competitive sports, such as swimming, figure skating and hockey.

“These kids could not afford to be missing this time, in the pool, or the ice time. These families are also experiencing increased expenses and risks, driving to other facilities and other communities,” said Rice.

He also pointed out drowning is the main cause of death for children and Kitimat children are missing out on swimming lessons which will prepare them to swim in the lake during camping season. He told Council seniors need the pool for health issues.

“We’re all suffering needlessly here Mr. Mayor, Especially those single parents and families on single income who are presently on strike,” said Rice. “What I hope, is that a better job of getting your negotiating team, back to the bargaining table, and deal with the outstanding items is your number one priority. Why is it getting your negotiating team to the bargaining table and staying there is like trying to herd cats.”

He expressed that working for a long time and coming to some agreements only to take it away and start from scratch made little sense to him. He asked why the tax dollars were being used on high priced lawyers to replace the CAO and the deputy CAO? He asked why they were spending the money on a new negotiator, when the person the same negotiator they started with.

“Things have been getting better for many in Kitimat, while they have been getting worse for the Kitimat employees. You’re replacing full time hourly workers with two or more part time workers, while when a staff member is replaced, it’s with two full time staff members. I think it’s time to make it better for Kitimat hourly employees so they can enjoy the prosperity the staff employed by the District of Kitimat is enjoying,” said Rice.

He wanted his tax dollars to support good jobs, not part time positions. He wanted to see people accountable when jobs are contracted out. Finally, as a taxpayer, he demanded that the Council do everything they could to end the labour dispute and bargain a fair collective agreement for the workers, one which is respectful.